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The 5 Key Ingredients of a Perfect Facebook Post

clock-iconJuly 10, 2017

No two Facebook posts are created equal. Of the many ingredients that go into each one—visuals, compelling copy, headlines, and timing—there are countless variations. There is no perfect Facebook post, but there is such a thing as a perfect Facebook post for your brand.

To find out what goes into a successful Facebook post, I spoke with Hootsuite’s social media marketing specialist, Amanda Wood, and social media marketing coordinator, Christine Colling. They shared tips on:

  • How to get your content seen by working with Facebook’s News Feed
  • How to write attention-grabbing posts
  • The type of content that gets the most engagement
  • The role of timing in a perfect Facebook post

Continue reading to discover how you can create the perfect Facebook post for your brand.

5 components of a perfect Facebook post

1. Great copy

Copywriting is one of the most useful skills a social media manager can have. Writing clear and concise copy lets your audience spend more time paying attention to your key message—rather than deciphering what you’re trying to say. Wood and Colling share three tips to keep in mind when writing Facebook posts.

Keep it short

“Our audience’s time is important to us so we get our message across in as few words as possible,” explains Wood. “We keep headlines under 20 words and use a maximum of 50 words in the description for optimal link clicks.”

Use emoji

If your brand voice allows for it, Colling suggests using emoji in your copy. She says: “You can use emoji to show a reaction to content rather than explaining something. Emoji help emit emotion and take the place of too many words.”

Tease the content

When creating a Facebook post, keep your audience top of mind. Wood says, “You should always be thinking about how you can save your audience time, while providing valuable content. For example, when we share a link to a blog post that contains 10 tips, we give away four.”

This way, the audience is able to easily determine whether the link is one they want to click. If the tips we share aren’t what they’re looking for at that time, they can scroll past. On the other hand, if the teaser content looks like something they’d be interested in knowing more about, they can click through and continue reading.

For more expert writing tips, read our post 7 Key Strategies to Write Clickable Content for Every Social Network.

2. Compelling visuals

When you combine great writing with attractive visuals, you’re well on your way to creating the perfect Facebook post.

Wood and Colling recommend that social media managers:

  • Add a variety of media formats to Facebook posts. Rather than just sticking with images, try mixing things up with video content, blog links, GIFs, or other rich media assets relevant to your organization.
  • Create new social assets to use instead of preview images. Facebook automatically pulls a preview image from the content when you’re sharing a link. Instead of accepting whatever shows up, Wood suggests creating a separate social asset to offer additional information to your audience.
  • Be strategic with video content. Colling recommends finding a length that works for your brand, but says shorter videos often work best. “We keep our videos under a minute and make sure we’re adding value,” she explains. “Hootsuite’s social videos aim to be educational and provide information to our audience.”

Colling also suggests experimenting with Facebook Live video. Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes Facebook Live videos as they are happening so they appear higher in users’ News Feed.

3. Uses the algorithm to increase reach

In 2016, Facebook Pages experienced a 52 percent decline in organic reach. If you understand the way the Facebook algorithm works, it can help alleviate some of the impact this has surely had on your content.

According to Adam Mosseri, Facebook’s VP of Product Management,, the algorithm looks at each post individually and predicts whether a user will be interested in—and how likely they are to share—the content. Each post is given a relevancy score based on:

  • Who posted the story (ie. if someone likes and comments on another user’s posts, Facebook will infer you are interested in the content)
  • How many interactions the post has (if a post has many likes and comments, Facebook determines it is more popular and of more interest)
  • When the post was originally created (more recent posts are given priority, unless another variable shows to be more significant.)

Mosseri explains the best ways publishers (that’s you!) can get more engagement by working with Facebook’s algorithm:

  • Try things. Mosseri says this is the most important step towards dominating the News Feed. “What’s best for your audience might not be best for another company’s audience,” he explains. “Experiment, make mistakes, try long form, short form, video, and different tones.”
  • Write compelling headlines. Mosseri, unsurprisingly, suggests publishers avoid clickbait headlines. Instead, he advises brands give their audience a clear sense of the content behind the link.
  • Avoid being overly promotional. Nobody wants to get bombarded with branded content, so you risk losing your audience’s interest if you take this route.

Our social media team find video content gets the most engagement, but this won’t necessarily be the case for all brands.

For more on using the algorithm to your advantage, read our post The Facebook Algorithm: What You Need to Know to Boost Organic Reach.

4. The timing is right

The perfect Facebook post for your brand is about more than just the content. Wood explains, “Even if you have the best content, if you’re posting at a time when your audience is asleep or inactive you aren’t going to see great results.”

So know when and how often to post.

To find the optimal time to post, Colling recommends testing a variety of times to see where you get the most activity. She explains, “It’s also important to know your audience and whether they’re in different time zones. We try not to post before a certain time so we can reach our North American audience at the end of the day, and our Asia-Pacific and European audiences as they’re waking up or having lunch.”

Find your Facebook audience’s sweet spot with The Best Time to Post on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Brands should also know how often to post. Wood explains, “We share twice a day on Facebook as we have a large audience across different time zones. We found this was the amount that works best for our audience and content. While we used to post eight times a day, we saw a significant increase in engagement after we cut down our number of daily posts.”

5. These common mistakes are avoided

For every perfect Facebook post, there are 10 that don’t quite make the cut. Wood and Colling agree that these less-than-stellar posts have certain qualities in common:

  • They are overly promotional. Always approach your Facebook content with an audience-first mindset. Instead of thinking how your brand can benefit, think about how you can help or solve problems for your Facebook audience.
  • *They are too long. Think about what your main message is, and stick to it. Nobody has time to read or watch unnecessarily lengthy content. *
  • There’s no CTA (or too many). The CTA compels your audience to complete an action, so if you aren’t providing one you’re missing out on a huge opportunity for click-throughs and engagement. But, if you offer too many CTAs on one post, there’s a good chance your audience will get overwhelmed and fail to click anywhere. Learn how to write an effective CTA.
  • They use images optimized for other platforms. Show your audience that you’ve put some thought into your content by using visuals that actually fit Facebook’s image guidelines.

Every brand will have a different formula for the perfect Facebook post. With the tips above, you can figure out what works—and what doesn’t—for your audience.